Take a Walk on the Wildside - Spend 3 Days in the Peaceful Western Lake District

If you thought that the Lake District was all about lakes and somewhere to avoid in mid Summer if you don’t like hiking with a crowd of other tourists, then you should think again.

The forgotten coastline of the Western Lake District – where the edge of Cumbria falls into the Irish Sea – offers stunning scenery, great hiking and beautiful deserted beaches.  Even in the height of Summer in a year when Covid-19 is still restricting foreign travel opportunities, this is a very peaceful part of the UK.

Here, you can spend a happy few days exploring the wild coastline, discovering deserted beaches and lakes and avoiding the traditional Lake District tourist traps.

Western Lake District

The Western Lake District coast is also steeped in history, which adds to the interest of a trip here.   Impressive Roman artefacts remain to tell the tale of ancient history long ago forgotten but easy to bring to life with a little imagination and some time spent hiking along this beautiful coastline.

Where We Stayed

Our base for our Western Lake District trip was Gosforth Hall Inn.  A small and friendly hotel well located to help you get the most out of this beautiful area and spend your time exploring on foot rather than driving.

When to Go

The Cumbrian coast is good to visit all year, as it gets less rain than the central Lake District. Spring is superb for wildlife.

3 Day Itinerary

Day 1 - Ravenglass Circuit via Muncaster Castle

This walk can easily be fitted into half a day but expanded to fill a whole day if you want to visit Muncaster Castle or spend longer exploring its extensive gardens.  The OS Maps app is really useful to help you find your way.

Distance:  8.5 kms

Time:  You could complete this hike in 2 and a half hours – but why rush?  We took a leisurely 3 hours 12 minutes.

Highlights:  Roman Bath House, Ravenglass, Muncaster Castle, Coastal Tidal Flats

Western Lake District Ravenglass Circuit Map
Western Lake District Ravenglass Circuit Map

Day 2 - Avoid the Honeypots - Saint Bees Head

Saint Bees Head lies outside the boundary of the Lake District National Park and so is rarely mentioned in guidebooks.  This walk is as good – if not better – than those in the heart of the Lakes that attract crowds of tourist in mid Summer.

Saint Bees Head – the most westerly part of Cumbria is home to a gorgeous sandy beach.  On a clear day, you will be able to enjoy some outstanding views from the majestic red sandstone clifftops as you listen to the gulls screaming over your head.

Distance:  15.3 kms

Time:  5 hours 45 minutes (at a very leisurely pace!)

Highlights:  Saint Bees Head – the start of the famous long distance Coast-to-Coast Walk, Seabirds, Saint Bees Lighthouse

Western Lake District St. Bees Map
Western Lake District St. Bees Map

Day 3 - Nether Wasdale and Wastwater, Drigg, Whitehaven, The Rum Story

Take a walk on the wildside through Nether Wasdale and Wastwater.  You can’t really visit the Lake District without seeing a lake can you?  This lovely circular walk which we found on the All Trails App   starts in the village of Nether Wasdale then follows a stone track between pastures to reach the foot of Wastwater where you can walk along the shore and enjoy the classic view to Wasdale Head

It is only a relatively short walk which allows you plenty of time to visit Drigg beach Whitehaven and visit the Rum Story to find out all about the intriguing history of the rum industry that Jefferson’s made famous in this area.

Distance:  6.6 kms

Time:  2 hours

Highlights:  Wastwater, Drigg Beach, Whitehaven, The Rum Story Museum.

Western Lake District Nether Wasdale and Wastewater Map
Western Lake District Nether Wasdale and Wastewater Map
Western Lake District - Wastwater

Are you ready to lace up your hiking boots and explore this little visited area yourself?  Continue reading to see more of what can be discovered in the Western Lake District and start planning your own well earned get away…